Complement your Communication coursework with hands-on experience
The Department of Communication urges its students to complete at least one internship during their undergraduate careers. 64 percent of our recent graduating seniors report participating in an internship experience. Internships allow you to try out a new field, gain valuable skills, network with professionals in your field, and apply what you are learning in the classroom to real life settings. Communication majors have interned in such diverse fields as media programming, public interest research, TV news, advertising, public relations, education, corporate management, sales, government, newspapers, magazines, non-profits, and film production.
Please note that internships do not count for Communication credit, but the department highly encourages students to pursue them for elective credit.
The academic piece
You’ll work this out with your sponsoring professor. But typically, an internship requires that you keep a journal “on the job,” which you’ll use to write a paper that summarizes your experiences, evaluates them, and relates them to one or more courses that you have already taken or will take immediately after the internship.
You can do an internship (UMass 298Y: Practicum) in any session: fall, spring, winter (January), or summer. During summer or winter sessions, you pay for the credits through Continuing & Professional Education.
To be eligible for an internship, you must have completed at least 45 credits and have a minimum GPA of 2.0.
You can earn as few as 1 to as many as 18, depending on the hours you put into the internship each week. One credit for every 40 hours of work is typical. These credits are graded as pass/fail and are treated as elective—they do not fulfill any department requirements (there are no exceptions to this rule). No more than 18 credits can be applied toward graduation, regardless of how many internships you complete.
In order to receive academic credit for an internship, you must work with a Faculty Sponsor and fill out an Academic Contract, available at the Internship Office in 511 Goodell. For help identifying a faculty sponsor, please contact your faculty advisor.
Scholarships for internships
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers several scholarships that support students doing internships. Check here for the scholarships and their deadlines.
How to apply for an internship: 4 steps
Attend a "Welcome to Field Experience" meeting at Career Services
To learn the days, times, and locations of these frequent meetings, call the Field Experience Office at 413-545-6265 or 413-545-6267, or go the Internships page of the Career Services website. If you have already set up an internship, you don’t necessarily need to attend a meeting.
Find a Faculty Sponsor
This is your responsibility, not the department’s. We recommend that you first approach faculty you know from your classes or activities. If these individuals are not available to sponsor you, the next step is to make an appointment with your faculty advisor in Communication. You can ask your faculty advisor to sponsor you, or he or she can help you identify another suitable sponsor. Your faculty advisor's name appears on the bottom right-hand corner of your SPIRE student page, or you can ask the main office. You and your faculty sponsor will decide on the nature of the project and create an Academic Contract that outlines what you'll be required to do.
Complete two forms
You will need to submit the Academic Contract, which you’ll complete with your faculty sponsor, and an Application for Field Experience. Pick them up at the Field Experience Office, Goodell 511. (These forms are not available on-line.)
Submit the forms to the Field Experience Office
Return them to Goodell 511. A person in that office will complete the registration process for you. Make sure your sponsoring professor has signed the Academic Contract.
For summer or winter break internships, you'll need to make one more stop: After submitting your form to the Field Experience Office, visit Continuing & Professional Education at their office in Hadley to pay for your internship credits:
Continuing & Professional Education
100 Venture Way, Suite 201
Hadley, MA 01035-9430